Ma Rustic (the tiny team of 2 behind AM Drums) has been making steel tongue AM Drums for almost 10 years. Our experience and expertise promise you a unique and special musical instrument of the finest quality in terms of form, appearance and precision tuning.
Ma Rustic is a little shy about photos, but please introduce yourself to us and we promise you will get a friendly, personal and welcoming response.
Making steel tongue drums is not rocket science, but it does take a lot of experience to be able to get it right every time. We put blood, sweat, tears and love into the making of AM Drums and everything we know has been learnt first hand. We’re not going to give away all our secrets, but we will share with you some of the key information.
Our steel tongue drums are all made from recycled steel, which we clean thoroughly beforehand so there are no smells or reminders of its past life.
The inside of the drum is also painted to protect it from rust.
As Ma Rustic uses recycled steel to make AM Drums, sometimes the original form may have some very small irregularities in the shape (such as minor dents), but these do not affect the strength or sound of the drum. They are purely cosmetic and barely noticeable. We promise we would never send you one that did not look nice and we guarantee it will be of the highest quality.
Every AM Drum is “tempered” by being heated to high temperatures in a furnace, and then quickly cooled. This strengthens the steel, which ensures the drum retains it’s tuning (AM Drums tuning will remain stable over time, as long as you take care of it).
AM Drums are made with love by two very real human beings (not factory robots). Ma Rustic belongs to the minority few steel tongue drum-makers who cut the tongues by hand (with the help of power tools, of course) – unlike many makers who contract out this part of the process by having the tongues laser-cut and mass produced in factories.
We also paint them entirely by hand, which allows us to offer such a wide range of personal, unique and beautiful designs. Again, many of the other makers simply have them all spray painted in a factory.
We, on the other hand, work in a small, rustic workshop, in a peaceful, rural place. This is our main source of income and we feel that we ask reasonable prices in exchange for our hard work.
We are happy because we have found a good life-balance, and this is reflected in our work. We are happy because we are living by our authentic principles and we are sending little bundles of love and positive energy all around the world.
We believe that the personal, human touch we give to our steel tongue drum gives it that extra special quality, and we are sure that you, the customer, can feel those good vibrations when you play the finished drum.
As with all hand-made products, the charming part is that you can see the evidence of the personal human touch by the occasional minute cosmetic irregularity. The flourish of a paint brush, for example, can be considered quite beautiful and gives it a little extra special magic. See our photos page for examples.
We promise you these will be barely noticeable, though it is part of the appeal of buying a hand-made product and means that every one is definitely, totally unique.
If you want mass-produced, factory output made by machines, digital robots or small children in a sweat shop, then you are definitely in the wrong place….
While all parts of the process are important, the tuning is particularly crucial because it has to be done with the right energy. Before tuning we clear our minds and make sure we have love in our hearts and positive thoughts in our imagination. If, for some reason, our energy is not right, we leave the drum to be tuned later (not too long, though, of course).
Each AM Drum is tuned very precisely, at three different stages of production (pre-tuning, followed by two stages of fine tuning, before the final coat of varnish), to ensure it stays in tune and is not affected by any of the production procedures. For more details about tuning, see the tuning page.
Once complete, every AM Drum is treated to 2-3 coats of paint (in your chosen colour/s), followed by 2 coats of varnish. All of our steel tongue drums are painted by hand, with care, to ensure each one is unique. See photos page for examples in every colour of the rainbow.
Ma Rustic does not add any gimmicks to our finished steel tongue drums. AM Drums are committed to offering quality, beautiful-sounding, fine musical instruments at affordable prices for everyone. To keep the prices down, we don’t use gimmicks – we prefer DIY solutions for experimenting with different sounds. This also means our steel tongue drums are more versatile and better for creativity and experimentation.
See our page on how to play, for more tips.
We have mastered the art of making AM Drums, yet we’re still learning about and discovering new qualities of this steel instrument which enable us to continually innovate our production techniques, to take the quality and sound to new levels. That’s what keeps it interesting and why we love making them 😉